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Fulcrum BioEnergy MSW-to-ethanol plant selected by DOE to advance to final stage for loan guarantee

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected Fulcrum’s Sierra BioFuels Plant to enter the final phase of DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program. (Earlier post.) The Fulcrum plant uses a thermochemical process involving gasification of municipal solid waste (MSW) followed by the catalytic conversion of the syngas to ethanol.

The Sierra BioFuels Plant will be located approximately 20 miles east of Reno, Nevada in Storey County. The plant will produce 10.5 million gallons of ethanol annually along with 16 megawatts of renewable electricity by processing post-sorted municipal solid waste (MSW).

Fulcrum has received a detailed indicative term sheet from DOE and has begun the negotiation process to advance the loan towards closure and funding.

We began engineering work on the Sierra BioFuels Plant earlier this year and we are eager to proceed with procurement and construction before the end of the year. With equity capital in place, the DOE loan guarantee represents a vital financing tool to allow our $120 million project to move forward – opening the door to an exciting new industry.

We recognize that until the loan is closed, there is no assurance that a loan guarantee will actually be issued. However, as we move ahead and negotiate terms of the loan with DOE, and as DOE continues its technical, commercial and financial due diligence through the closing of the loan guarantee, we are optimistic that a conditional commitment and loan guarantee will be issued.

—E. James Macias, Fulcrum President and CEO

The Sierra BioFuels Plant is the first of several projects that Fulcrum is currently developing. Fulcrum says that it currently has projects in various stages of development throughout North America that will produce one billion gallons of ethanol per year.



Good. Only the most narrow minded will oppose the scale up of MSW to alcohol fuels. Recycling our solid waste to liquid fuel is a BIG step forward for energy independence, jobs and national security.

Appears to be an excellent project.


Al Gore once quipped on a Saturday Night Live skit where he had become president that "since I insisted cars run on trash, gasoline is now $1 per gallon".

This can be done, it is not magic, but if the capital is not there it will not be done. Think of who controls the capital flows in the private sector and you get a better picture.

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